Review: Lost and Found: Visible Ink 21

Alrighty. I said that I’d review a journal per week and already I’ve started outsourcing on the second week (thank you Sam Cooney for your thoughtful words on¬†Cutwater). It’d be poor form to outsource again on the third week, so I’m going to review Visible Ink’s latest publication, Lost and Found.

I met half of the 2009 Vis Ink crew, Allison Browning and Anthony Noack, at this year’s NYWF. When Allison and Anthony spoke of their desire to start up their own literary journal once they had finished Visible Ink, I professed some scepticism. Did Melbourne need another literary journal? Seriously. It was getting crowded down here.

It has been tradition for some time for creatives to flock to Melbourne, to take advantage of the scene. The problem we now face is there’s too many of us here and not enough people amongst the public interested in what we’re all doing. We are our own audience, and since we’re all broke, we can’t sustain each other. (Chris Flynn, 14/10/09)

But after attending a couple of Read You Bastards fundraiser nights, which have become established events in their own right, and the Lost and Found launch, I wouldn’t mind if these guys go all Harvest.¬†Unlike 1908, Lost and Found is one good-looking journal with colour art and photography gracing its covers and pages. Paper is of the recycled kind, and the the text is easy on the eye. Looks like Lost and Found knows that it’s a literary journal; it’s ‘noice’ without being overly designed.

There seems to be a couple of odd editorial decisions. Moreno Giovannoni and Simon McInerney are published twice. One might indulge in a couple of poems from the same poet, but two short stories from the same contributor seems a little excessive, especially in a journal that spans a little more than a hundred pages. I found out at the launch, however, that pieces were selected blind; it is credit to Moreno Giovannoni’s versatility that both ‘The Percheron’ and ‘Sally’ made the final cut. Simply and carefully told, ‘The Percheron’ unfolds without embellishment or trickery:

The man knows that the only way to work with a horse is to use a psychological approach, because his strength cannot match that of the horse. He normally tries to anticipate the horse’s likely behaviour and gently encourages responses consistent with the needs of the work. So what happens that day is a shock to both the man and the horse.

‘Sally’, on the other hand, is colourful in its colloquialism:

On the oval he’d go nuts in the middle of a pack. Didn’t care who he hit or which part of him got whacked. He knew that he’d get the ball if the others sensed his blind desperation. Crazy-brave. The opposition could tell he was going nuts so they’d let him have the ball. You would’ve thought he was prepared to die in there and that was scary.

Other pieces that particularly stuck out for me were Susan Fox’s ‘Waiting Room’, Bernadette Zen’s ‘Tramjam’ with its sweet, youthful earnestness, and Emma Starr’s photo ‘Solitude’, but almost every contributor had something to offer, and because of this I’m peeved at the 2009 Vis Ink crew for their wasteful use of four pages on editorial. But still, great job guys. Hope to see you manning another literary ship some time soon.

To order Lost and Found, check out Visible Ink’s post here.

Lost and Found: Visible Ink 21. Courtesy of

Next week, I’ll be reviewing another journal (not sure which one yet) unless I find someone else to review for me of course. Do you want to review something? It’s fun. I know you want to.

Until then, New Zealand-styled beached whale and sea gull on YouTube: